Dallas Mavericks

Presidents, teammates pay tribute to Dirk as career comes to an end

The tributes continued to come in for Dirk Nowitzki as he said goodbye to the NBA after 21 years on Wednesday.

Famous names from around the world such as former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Kobe Bryant and Jason Kidd offered their well-wishes to the Dallas Mavericks legend before, during and after the final game of his career Wednesday night in San Antonio.

“That was cool,” Nowitzki said during the team’s season-ending exit interviews on Thursday. “I haven’t even got to everything honestly. It’s been one thing after the next. I did check Twitter some, especially after that home night here. Once we got to San Antonio, things settled down. I was so emotional I couldn’t sleep.”

Nowitzki had his wife and some family, along with most of the Mavericks’ front office staff in San Antonio for his finale. San Antonio fans cheered wildly for Nowitzki while he scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in his final game. The love was not only in the AT&T Center but coming from around the globe via social media.

“From a big NBA fan, congrats to future Hall of Famers Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki — not just all-time greats but class acts, too,” Obama posted on Twitter.

Nowitzki said he’s been trying to catch up and plans to respond with ‘thank yous’ after decompressing for a week or two.

The Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars and FC Dallas all paid tribute to No. 41 on social media and some of the biggest sports stars in DFW history offered their well-wishes, including Cowboys’ legends Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith, who called Nowitzki “an icon to the city” on Twitter during his American Airlines Center finale on Tuesday.

“I did some research online and it’s been amazing how many people have reached out. Some people I didn’t even think would know me. Maybe that’s a little naive of me. It’s been overwhelming how many people reached out over Twitter or phone. I’m going to get to all that once we settle down and really enjoy it and watch some of those videos once I have a little bit of time.”

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.